by Shelton Bumgarner
I find myself listening to music from Taylor Swift’s new album “Lover” a lot these days. It’s pretty good music in the context of modern pop music. But, Jesus, Tay-Tay, how old are you? You’re a grown-ass woman now.
Not that it’s my place to tell her what to do — it’s not — but as an audience member I grow frustrated with her training bra music. If you’re going to be a huge superstar, you’re at some point going to have to admit that you…have sex. It’s not as though she isn’t thirsty at points in her modern lyrics, but there’s still an element of air quotes to the whole thing.
But, really, I guess if it’s not broke don’t fix it. That’s her thing. She’s middle-of-the-road, middlebrow pop music for people who don’t want to be challenged. She’s kind of the Korean drama of music. So, from a strictly musical standpoint, she’s fine. She can drift through the decades writing lyrics that make 14-year-old girls think they’re being “naughty” by singing them outloud alone in their room.
Having said all that, there is the issue of her Hollywood career. She has all the elements of someone who could make a successful transition from pop star to Hollywood star. But for one thing — sex appeal Just look at Lady Gaga. There’s no question Lady Gaga is an adult woman who might take a lover — male or female — just because she’s horny.
While Tay-Tay is obviously stunning, she just doesn’t exude that danger that is critical to sex appeal. Sex appeal, in part, is the questions someone’s demeanor leaves in your mind. Think back to Prince. In Controversy, he sings something like, “Is he gay, is he straight?” With Tay-Tay, the only question I have about her motives is…has she actually had sex? Even if she has, I honestly can’t imagine her doing it. She’s in a twilight of a young woman who hasn’t fully transitioned out of late childhood.
What’s more, I just don’t see Tay-Tay doing what is required to fix this situation. I mean, maybe, she might drop a toe into music that is a bit more provocative, but even then that’s likely to have a huge amount of pushback from her fanbase. And, really, this is an example of how her being, like, sane and stuff is both a boon and a bane. Her rock-solid mental stability helps her become and stay hugely successful. But not being weird hurts her because she uses the metrics that any normal person would use. She doesn’t do something crazy for the sake of being different. Art for art’s sake is not her bailiwick.
As I’ve said before, you do you Tay-Tay. Though to quote Billy Joel, I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.